Illinois workers compensation laws are in place to make sure that if an employee is injured on the job, they have financial protection. That means that their employer, who is required to carry workers compensation insurance, will pay for the medical expenses related to the injury. Doctors visits, tests, surgeries, medications, physical therapy and other treatments are typically covered.

Financial protection also means that if the injured employee is unable to work for a period of time, they will receive some compensation to make up for their lost wages. This is called temporary total disability or TTD.

If the injury is particularly severe, and the employee cannot go back to their job, vocational training or job placement services may be required and part of a workers compensation settlement.

A key question to determining if an injured worker has a strong case and will likely receive workers comp benefits is, “How were you injured?” We need to know the facts surrounding the injury. What was the exact cause?

The reason we need to know this is because if the injury was self-inflicted, it may not covered under workers’ compensation law. But the lines are a little blurry around this, so we highly recommend you contact us and explain your situation so we can share our opinion on whether or not you have a case.

Intentional self-inflicted injuries are typically not covered, but what if an employee cuts himself on a machine he is operating? The employer could argue that they provided safety training and protective gear, and the injury is the fault of the employee. And none of that matters. If you are doing your normal job duties, unless you fall in one of the categories below you’ll be covered. You don’t have to prove that the machine malfunctioned or the protective gear wasn’t sufficient.

The following types of accidents are also typically not covered, but you should still ask as there are exceptions to these exceptions:

Horseplay: Injuries from horsing around, fighting about things not relevant to the job, or playing pranks at work. The classic case we were taught in law school involved a worker hurt while joy riding in a golf cart on the job. They took a hard turn, fell off and were injured. That was not a case because the way they were driving was way beyond the scope of their job. In fact their job didn’t even require them to use the golf cart. And even if they were allowed to use it, they did it in a reckless way.

Outside work hours: Injuries occurring outside of work, such as a car accident while getting coffee before work, or tearing your Achilles at a 5k with work friends on the weekend. But if the 5k was a mandatory work event or you were on a work call when the accident happened, it could be covered.

Alcohol or drug impairment: Injuries, even if you are on work premises, but you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol will prevent a successful work comp case unless you can show that your injury had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol being in your system. The most common example is when you smoked marijuana over the weekend and get hurt on Monday while sober.

You might have an idea on whether or not your injury will qualify you for workers compensation. The bottom line is that you can be at fault and still get benefits. We have decades of experience in this, so please contact us any time for a free consultation.